Three Oaks, Michigan, United States
Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. This is certainly one of those times, as Toyota successfully trolled the entirety of the media corps at the 2014 SEMA Show by rolling an innocent-looking Camry onto the floor... only to lift literally the entirety of its body to reveal an 850-horsepower, tube-framed dragster. Well, we have been asking for a more driver-oriented Toyota.
While it's designed to go fast in a straight line, the origin of the Camry Dragster's parts might be surprising. The 5.7-liter V8 engine, transmission, rear axle and electronics were plucked from the Toyota Tundra pickup. Toyota Racing Development donated a supercharger, while a wet-nitrous-injection system was also tacked on for that little extra something. Those goodies will help propel this anonymous looking monster through the quarter mile in just 9.8 seconds.
"This is the most extreme build we've ever unveiled at SEMA," said Toyota's motorsports chief Steve Appelbaum said in a statement. "The transformation from seemingly stock Camry to full-blown racecar just shocks the senses. Chuck Wade and the team at Motorsports Technical Center did a truly spectacular job executing the vision of this project."
You'd be forgiven for thinking just because the Lexus LFA has ended its production run (it's been over a year now) that Toyota would have ceased its development. You'd be forgiven, but Gazoo Racing is here to tell you you'd still be wrong.
One of Toyota's many works racing teams, Gazoo is returning to the 24-hour endurance race at the Nürburgring this year with a trio of entries. One is based on the Toyota GT86 (which we know as the Scion FR-S), and one is essentially the same LFA that it's entered in years past. But the third vehicle is dubbed Code X.
It's also based on the LFA, but its 4.8-liter V10 engine has been bored out to 5.3 liters, raising its output to untold levels. It's got a full carbon-fiber chassis and a range of other enhancements that Gazoo isn't telling us about just yet, but they should turn the LFA Code X from a road-going supercar beyond a racecar and into a rolling research lab. Considering that Gazoo has been racing at the 'Ring since 2007 and fielding versions of the LFA there since 2008, it'll be interesting to see how the Code X version fares.
When the doors open at the LA Auto Show in a few weeks, Scion will be on hand to showcase its new iM Concept. But considering what little Toyota's youthful brand has revealed about the concept so far, it's led to rampant speculation. And the prevailing wisdom seems to point towards a production iM arriving as a Scion-badged version of the Toyota Auris.
For those unfamiliar, the Auris is to European (and other) markets essentially what the Matrix is (was?) to ours: a hatchback version of the Corolla. The model line was first introduced in 2006, looking in its first iteration like an overgrown version of the contemporary second-gen Yaris, and was replaced with the current model in 2012. It's available as a five-door hatch or wagon, with a range of gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains available.
If the rumors - spurred by the similarity of the iM concept's nose depicted in the teasers - prove accurate, and public reception to the idea ends up spurring Toyota to put it into action, it wouldn't be the first overseas Toyota brought over as a Scion. The Scion iQ was sold as the Toyota iQ overseas years before it arrived here.